the show

What’s Bugging You?

encore date: August 2, 2014

original air date: June 7, 2014

What’s buggin’ you? Find out with Wizzie Brown, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Program Specialist-IPM.  On tour, landscape architect Christy Ten Eyck gardens wise in Austin with drought-tough lessons learned in Arizona. Daphne explains how to prune an overgrown loropetalum. Her pick of the week is low-growing groundcover, green germander. Tim Miller from organic Millberg Farm shows how to water vegetables.


Question of the Week

How prune my loropetalums that are too tall?

Thanks to Peggy Moore for this great question and pictures!  She has two gorgeous Loropetalum shrubs flanking her front door.  She’s never trimmed them, and they’re now about 6 feet tall.  But she’d like for them to be about 4 feet. How does she go about trimming them?

Although it may not seem like it, this is actually a very easy situation to deal with.  First, Loropetalum responds well to pruning.

And second, you only want to remove 2 feet from a 6 foot tall plant.  That’s one-third of the total height, so it fits within our one-third rule: never remove more than one-third of a plant at any one time.

Her Loropetalum shrubs have a very lithe shape to them at the moment that is quite nice.  So even though you could simply hedge them back to 4 feet, I recommend that you prune in keeping with the tree-like shape that the shrubs have developed.  That would mean taking out entire branches from the height of the shrub, rather than giving it a flat-top.

Since Loropetalum responds well to pruning, don’t be too nervous about it.  Even if you make a few mistakes, the plants should be fine.  These shrubs appear to be in quite a bit of shade, so they may not flower much.

But if they do, wait until after they’ve flowered to prune them.  If you prune too early, you’ll prune out all of the beautiful flower buds.  And if you prefer to hedge them, rather than keep their tree-like form, the growth may take a while to fill back in.  The plants appear to have been growing into tree-form for quite a while, so changing their habit to be shrubbier will probably take a few growing seasons.


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Plant of the Week

Green Germander

Green Germander

Teucrium chamaedrys

Green germander is a perennial Mediterranean herb that makes a great little groundcover, especially in dry areas of the landscape. It thrives in full sun, but can take a bit of shade, and needs very little supplemental irrigation, even in the hottest, driest of times. Green germander stays very small, getting only about 12” tall and spreading to about as wide. Hardy all the way down to zone 5, this shrubby groundcover is often evergreen in warmer climates. But even if it doesn’t die back in winter, green germander will perform better with a little early spring shearing to keep it in shape. In the late spring or early summer, it forms lavender flowers, similar to most of its other relatives in the mint family. After it’s done flowering, green germander may get a little leggy, and if so, just shear it back about an inch or so, to encourage new growth. Regular shearing will make for a fuller, more robust plant, which will look much more attractive in the garden. Green germander can tolerate all different types of soil, although it will perform best in well-drained, even rocky garden beds.